I like cake and I like carrots (I have fond childhood memories of eating freshly dug up carrots from dad’s veggie patch) yet put the two together and it’s a ‘no’ from me. I’ve never been a fan of carrot cake, it just doesn’t do it for me. So why did I recently find myself in Manchester’s newest luxury airport lounge voluntarily scoffing multiple slices of the stuff? Well, I’d been promised by the friendly PremiAir private terminal chef that it would be the best carrot cake I’d ever tasted.
And as Her Ladyship will confirm, I’m never one to back down from a challenge.
So what exactly is PremiAir?
Heather hates travelling, which is a bit of contradiction when it comes to travel blogging! Flying and waiting around in airports always has her stressed and grumpy, so one thing we do to make our journeys a bit more bearable is treat ourselves to a premium lounge at Manchester Airport. Usually a good start to any trip, although depending on what time you arrive and how busy it is the experience can be a bit hit and miss. Her Ladyship likes personal space, comfy seats and good food, and unfortunately these can’t always be guaranteed.
Enter PremiAir. A new super swanky luxury airport lounge at Manchester that actually makes the pre-departure rituals a pleasure rather than a necessary evil. This new private terminal takes the process to a whole new level, making you feel like VIPs even if you don’t have your own plane or play for Manchester United! Yes, even ‘normal’ folk like you and me are welcome here.
We were privileged to be invited to the launch of PremiAir to discover what all the fuss was about. And boy, were we impressed. With the service, the style, and the incredible food.
Privacy, Peace and Quiet
The PremiAir private lounge at Manchester Airport is the ‘first VIP terminal of its kind’, and the guest experience is at the heart of everything they do. A bold statement, but one that was backed up by all we saw during our visit. PremiAir is a luxury service for passengers who want privacy, hate standing around in queues, or simply want to be treated like stars. Sounds right up our street!
How does it work once you arrive?
On arrival staff will check that all your paperwork is in order. They can’t check you in so you need to do that online before you arrive, just like you normally would. If you’re travelling with checked luggage, then this will be taken off you and the next time you see it will be on arrival at your final destination. All the staff are trained to meet the standards of the partner airlines when it comes to luggage size/weight/permitted items. And your luggage is screened right here at the PremiAir terminal before being taken to your plane.
Depending on your package you can then either enjoy the lounge and the incredible cooked-to-order food, or breeze straight through passenger security screening before being chauffeur-driven in a rather swanky BMW direct to your departure gate.
At the gate you’ll be escorted to the boarding desk for the airline staff to conduct their final checks. If your gate is serviced by a passenger boarding bridge, then this will be the end of your PremiAir experience. However, if there’s no bridge and your plane is accessed by an airport bus transfer, you just jump back into your comfy car after the checks have been done and get driven right up to the plane. How’s that for door-to-door service?
For those travelling with children don’t worry, PremiAir fits child seats to their executive cars, ensuring even the smallest of passengers get the very best treatment.
Now we have to give the grub a special mention here, because honestly we came away from the launch feeling we’d just been out for a gourmet meal! It was superb! There’s a weekly changing a la carte menu from which you can request as many dishes as much as you like!
They’re served tapas style in small plates or bowls, and we do recommend you give yourself enough time to try them all, especially the Asian pork bao buns served in individual bamboo steamers. Divine! I may have had more than one! All the food is cooked freshly to order by the in-house chef and his expert team, so go fill your boots!
PremiAir Offer Four Packages:
Priority Departure – £50
This is designed for passengers with hand luggage only who want to spend as little time as possible at the airport. You’ll arrive at the PremiAir terminal approximately 1 hour before your flight, and sail through the dedicated security screening before being driven to the departure gate. In the small print PremiAir do state that the transfer may be shared with another passenger if on the same flight. Priority Departure does not get you access to the lounge.
Premium Departure – £100
This is where the luxury and VIP experience really kicks in, and for £100 per person, you’d hope so. On arrival and after getting booked in, staff will take any checked luggage off your hands and whisk it through the necessary security screening and weight checks for the specific airline you’re flying with. Then it will be transported to your plane, and the next time you’ll see it will be on arrival at your destination. You then get three hours in the lounge before going through the dedicated security screening and luxury transfer to your departure gate.
Arrival – £100
If you want to be the envy of everyone on your flight arriving at Manchester then PremiAir have that covered. You’ll be collected from the plane and enjoy a private transfer to the PremiAir lounge. No need to worry about luggage, a PremiAir agent will collect your belongings and bring them to the lounge whilst you’re relaxing. The cost also covers an immigration officer from the UK Border Agency being brought in to process your passport.
Priority Round Trip – £150
Combining Priority Departures and Arrivals.
Premium Round Trip – £200
Combining Premium Departures and Arrivals.
So what’s so great about the lounge?
We loved PremiAir because:
- You couldn’t legally be any closer to the runway, with panoramic views across the airfield
- Dedicated security and passport control – no standing in long queues being bawled at to remove belts, laptops and the like
- The floor to ceiling windows make for a very light and bright lounge, with exposed beams and stylish seating
- The lounge is super spacious with seating for 61, although there’s an expectation that there will never be more than 20 people using it at any one time (due to the logistics of private transfers)
- High-speed complimentary WiFi
- Toilet and shower facilities
- A fleet of BMW 7 Series for private transfers
- No flight information screens or announcements – staff will personally inform you of any changes to your flight schedule and let you know when it’s time to head through to the dedicated security screening
- Some of the friendliest and most helpful terminal staff you’ll come across
- The food!!!!
PremiAir Opening Times & Booking
The private terminal is open between 04:00 and 22:00 every day except Christmas Day. It’s really easy to book by phone or online through their website here. Just select the package you want, and then enter your journey date and time, as well as your airline from the drop down box.
Which Airlines Partner with PremiAir
Just be aware that you can only use PremiAir if the airline you’re flying with has signed up as a partner. You can find this out by clicking on ‘Book Now’ and seeing which airlines are listed in the ‘Departure Airline’ drop down box. There are some big names already on board, such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Qatar, Singapore and Virgin, with more to follow. So, if you’re heading to places like Malaysia, Dubai, the US or Singapore you’re in luck! If your preferred airline isn’t yet listed, watch this space!
Where is the PremiAir Terminal in Manchester?
PremiAir is to the southwest of the main airport complex, with unrivalled views over the runway, right where the planes take off! It’s really easy to find too, and we found there was less traffic and fewer confusing signs as it’s on the opposite side of the airport to all the other terminals and car parks. All very exclusive.
As it’s a private terminal, you won’t be able to use any of the free bus transfer services from other car parks, like JetParks which is where we usually leave our car. However, PremiAir does have parking for 17 cars directly outside the terminal, or you can make use of their meet and greet service instead. Both need to be booked prior to arrival. Transfers to and from PremiAir can also be arranged from not only Manchester Airport train station, but across the Manchester region.
There’s not a shadow of doubt that we’ll be using PremiAir in the future, and are childishly quite excited by the prospect. It’s the perfect way to start your holiday off in comfort and style, taking away the usual stresses of airport negotiation. It isn’t cheap, but it really is a case of you get what you pay for! Personally, we probably wouldn’t bother with the Priority Departure, unless time was tight, because the experience really is all about the lounge, and yes, the food alone is worth the price tag.
Oh, and as for the carrot cake, chef was right. It wasn’t just the best carrot cake I’ve ever tasted, it was right up there as one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.
We were invited to the launch of PremiAir where we enjoyed all the lovely food, but have not been asked to write, or been compensated for, this review. We just loved it so much we think you need to know about it!!